noob in need of some clarifications regarding confusion with BASS scales,modes, chords etc

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
flaccone
KVRer
1 posts since 5 Dec, 2021

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 1:21 pm

hi guys, hows it going?
i been playing bass back in the 90s but stepped away from it for a good 20 years. now for the past 4 months i got back into it (really hardcore about it this time around). i never recieved any classical training, never touched music theory, never even read a book. no internet and no money in the 90s, so all i did was lifting basslines i liked from popular bands and making up my own or just fiddling around till i found something that sounded good (i played it all by ear/feel).

however, this time around i want to do it proper. learn music theory, scales, chords, reading/writing the whole 9. but theres a couple things that keep confusing me and i would like to get them out of the way once and for all so i can move on with my music education in peace (its silly stuff, mainly to do with nomenclature but it keeps gnawing at me.)

questions (all from a BASS players perspective):
1.) whats the point of a (lets say) C6 chord if all the notes in the C major scale fit in it as well? why wouldnt a backing track just say C ? (are those just the authors personal suggestions?). if something is in C i should more or less be able to get away with playing every note in the c major ionian scale, no? so why even have a C6? is it restricting me to only playing the root+3rd+5th+6th? whats the point of the specificity if it doesnt serve as a restriction?
2.) why they say the major scale has 7 modes but 4 of them are minor? im so confused about this. for example, dorian is a minor scale but its also a minor mode of the major scale?
3.) why online notations and apps show F6(for example) as starting with the F on the 8th fret of the A string? why cant it be a regular F chord with an added 6th? why they transpose it down? if you start on the F on the first fret of the E string and add the 3rd,5th and 6th it would still be a F6? so why dont they start with that one and then show the transposed down the neck versions

i know a lot of this theory by heart just through playing the bass (but now that im adding names and definitions to it its confusing me). ive been using all these theoretical techniques without even knowing what they were and how they were called. it was just instinct . im also aware that chords, scales and modes are more of a "piano thing" and they kinda revolve around it. so certain things dont really line up when translated to bass (which is limited to 4 strings and the last fret youre pressing on).

anyway, thanks in advance for you help (much appreciated)

jancivil
KVRAF
23613 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from gonesville

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 2:39 pm

flaccone wrote:
Sun Dec 05, 2021 1:21 pm
1.) whats the point of a (lets say) C6 chord if all the notes in the C major scale fit in it as well?
Do they? Equally well in every case? What's the point of having any distinction at all, since everything C major is this one thing where all of its members sit as well in a harmony as one another?
Might it be that the notes are not all the same weight - sonorously, in rhythm, etc - and that some consideration is given to the fact of the notes in the harmony? For instance, 4 potential targets there rather than always all 7 with no focus in mind. Then the notes that are not chord tones have their particular effect on the chord, including the voicing and spacing/position of the chord, & including their proximity to the members of this harmony.
flaccone wrote:
Sun Dec 05, 2021 1:21 pm
2.) why they say the major scale has 7 modes but 4 of them are minor? im so confused about this. for example, dorian is a minor scale but its also a minor mode of the major scale?
look at the third note of each of these 7 sets, let's go with C as "1": C E; D F; E G: F A; G B; A C; B D.
3 are major, 4 are minor. That's all there is to that. Minor quality of a harmony indicates a minor third from the harmony's root; a minor mode's third note is of the minor quality.
flaccone wrote:
Sun Dec 05, 2021 1:21 pm
3.) why online notations and apps show F6(for example) as starting with the F on the 8th fret of the A string? why cant it be a regular F chord with an added 6th?
I don't know why the position in a particular depiction of a chord in some document I've not seen means it isn't a regular F chord with an added 6th, all we see from this is there's an F at fret 8 on the A string.*
flaccone wrote:
Sun Dec 05, 2021 1:21 pm
why they transpose it down?
What 'they'? When? Where? There's nothing to this, there's no convention or demand a particular position is preferred or anything of the sort. This is just happenstance.
flaccone wrote:
Sun Dec 05, 2021 1:21 pm
if you start on the F on the first fret of the E string and add the 3rd,5th and 6th it would still be a F6?
*: F add6 is F, A, C, D, wherever, whenever.

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Mister Natural
KVRAF
2705 posts since 28 Oct, 2007 from michigan

Post Sun Dec 12, 2021 12:58 pm

here's the thing mr bass player - you need to(bandleader needs you to) :
1 be 100% chromatic to the key that the change is in in the moment while staying away from the third altogether. Let another instrument do that note plz
2 just stay in the effing pocket with my drummer.
3 it's fun when you sometimes lead w/a cool leading-note into the nxt change
4 practice, practice, practice
best of luck
expert only on what it feels like to be me
https://soundcloud.com/mrnatural-1/tracks

jsaras
KVRist
61 posts since 3 Mar, 2004 from Camarillo, CA

Post Wed Dec 15, 2021 7:32 am

Not all the notes of the C major scale are fair game on a C major chord. The only “rule” for tonal vertical structures is to avoid the outside octave interval (an octave + a half step) between any two voices (except for dominant 7b9 chords).

Let’s say the melody is a C, two octaves above middle C and the chord underneath is a C major 7. The major 7th (B) forms an outside octave with the C in the melody, and it doesn’t sound good. This issue can be addressed two ways. The C major 7 can be changed to a C6 (the B is changed to an A). Alternately, the C melody note could be adjusted to another note, perhaps a D or a B.

The exact same scenario occurs if you were to play the major 7th as the bass note.

If the modes confuse you, you can simply know that a mode is just another word for scale. The fact that some scales are inversions of other scales can be a mental convenience for remembering them, especially if you play material that is based on major and minor key centers. However, in contemporary music the root, scale/mode can change randomly without any reference to a home key center. So you may in fact he ahead of the game by learning each scale by knowing the intervals from the root tone being sounded.

An F6 chord is an F6 chord regardless of where it is on the neck. However, as a bass player you can transform with different root tones. It can become a Dmi7, Bb maj9, G9 sus4, Eb maj7#11, etc.

jancivil
KVRAF
23613 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from gonesville

Post Thu Dec 16, 2021 11:47 am

"staying away from the third altogether" in your bass lines
severely restrictive and no reason given...

You're surely a nice person, but this is not good advice.

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Mister Natural
KVRAF
2705 posts since 28 Oct, 2007 from michigan

Post Tue Dec 21, 2021 1:32 pm

jancivil wrote:
Thu Dec 16, 2021 11:47 am
"staying away from the third altogether" in your bass lines
severely restrictive and no reason given...
You're surely a nice person, but this is not good advice.
OP = self confessed NOOB
avoiding the third avoides any maj/min issue doesn't it ?
and I am a nice person thank you
expert only on what it feels like to be me
https://soundcloud.com/mrnatural-1/tracks

Dasheesh
KVRAF
4730 posts since 22 Nov, 2012

Post Tue Dec 21, 2021 3:36 pm

The bass is the fundamental, and therefor abides by it's own root. You are the bass player are you not? Rhythm and timing are more important in bass playing.

jancivil
KVRAF
23613 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from gonesville

Post Wed Dec 22, 2021 12:50 am

FOR EXAMPLE: Am, Am^7, Am7, D, F^7.
A, G#, G, F#, F.
A million songs do this one. It's a first inversion harmony for cryin out loud.

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TribeOfHǫfuð
KVRian
916 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Wed Dec 22, 2021 1:37 am

Mister Natural wrote:
Tue Dec 21, 2021 1:32 pm
avoiding the third avoides any maj/min issue doesn't it ?

What issues would that be that it should keep you from using a third in a bassline? Pretty good idea to get into playing by learning the notion of major and minor, I’d say.
Tribe Of Hǫfuð https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 "First rule: From one perfect consonance to another perfect consonance one must proceed in contrary or oblique motion." Johann Joseph Fux 1725.

jancivil
KVRAF
23613 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from gonesville

Post Wed Dec 22, 2021 8:51 am

Why would major/minor be an issue? We're writing a bass line to follow some harmony, and we expect the person doing it knows which it is.
So the reason is to avoid "an issue", ie., to know what chord you're harmonizing?

Here's one, Foxy Lady. The chief chord is F#7#9. The bass line's main fill during the verse is A B B# C#. 3 4 #4 5 (or saying "C" b5 to 5). A very normal line for R&B actually.
Here's a minor 3rd under a major/minor 7 harmony (which may be said to contain both thirds, albeit I say "#9").
The minor third against a major is a blue note, it's done all the time. Start being dogmatic you can argue yourself out of being able to move at all.

jancivil
KVRAF
23613 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from gonesville

Post Wed Dec 22, 2021 9:00 am

Hey Joe in the Hendrix version: verse chords are C and G, to D and A (then E and starts again). Bass line is C / G B-C D / A C#-D E / / /...
:shrug:
These are some oe the first things I ever picked off a record.

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